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Twitter Refugees

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Insight 

Media reporting on the humanitarian crisis has painted a large group of people as “refugees”… dehumanising them and leaving them homeless. This negative news coverage has created social tensions and has had an important impact on the lives of asylum seekers and their level of integration into society.  

People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) is a not-for-profit human rights organisation devoted to fighting for the rights of asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants. It wanted to make people think about and understand the implications of their words and consider their own role in the crisis. To do this, VML set out to get people talking about the dehumanising connotations of the word “refugee” and remind the world that these are people with real fears, hopes and dreams. 

Strategy 

The agency chose to run this campaign on Twitter because of the instant and global nature of the platform - this allowed it to continue the conversation as it happened – making even more of an impact. Working within the dynamics of Twitter and acknowledging user behaviour on the platform, VML set up four different Twitter accounts. This allowed it to gain maximum reach and ensure constant conversation – it also included the campaign hashtag (#HumanCrisis) on the end of each response.  

The time between Tweets was regulated to ensure that it didn’t over saturate the conversation. By Tweeting the revised Tweet back to the sender, this gave them and all their followers something to think about. When someone clicked on the Twitter Handle, they were able to see information regarding PASSOP and its mission – they were also then directed to the website should they want to know more. 

Execution 

The campaign set out to remind people of one thing, that refugees are human beings. The agency created an automated engine that scraped the global conversation on Twitter to find comments containing the word, “refugee.” It automatically replaced that word with the phrase, “human being” and Tweeted it back to the sender. To make the responses more contextual, the engine would use the word “human” if it was more relevant.  

The campaign soon spread and garnered an enthusiastic response from the Twitter community. When someone responded to an automated Tweet, a team of Community Managers who were monitoring the activity would engage in further conversation – humanising the message even more. 

Results 

The breadth of this conversation gave the campaign global reach, infiltrating the White House, media organisations, politicians, celebrities, and ordinary people. 

It set out to get people talking and with zero media budget, changed the global conversation and compelled people to change their perceptions of this human crisis.  

- 79.6 million impressions 
103,000 conversations started 
139,737 mentions.

Have Your Say

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Brand:
PASSOP
Category:
Charities
Region:
South Africa
date:
November - November 2015
Agency:
VML
Media Channel:
Online

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